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CASTLES OF THE AREA

This area of Germany abounds with Castles of all types, from elaborate well preserved edifices to picturesque ruins which atest today of bygone splendour. The small coverage given on these pages is an attempt to furnish you with a little background which may increase your understanding when you visit some local castle. Some of the castles covered would make an ideal family outing on a summer Sunday.

Schloss Hohenbaden
High on the Battert Rock above Baden in the Hohenbaden Castle known to most people as the Altes Schloss.
This former home of the Lords of Baden was destroyed by the French during the latter part of the 16th century. The structure is believed to have dated back to the third century but official history places the foundations at 1100 AD.
The general layout can be assertained quite easily and the oldest part is the tall tower which dominates the whole fortress. Main point of interest in the 3 storied central section which contained the 150 by 60 foot "Knight's Hall". It was built above the 9 dungeons and the lofty windows and stately gables indicate the former splendour.
A central stone pillar in the floor of the Hall bears the coat of arms of the "House of Oettingen", one of the, ruling families of bygone days.
The construction of the New Castle an the edge of Baden religated the Altes Schloss to role of the "Widows Seat". As each new lord took over the family of the former hero moved up the hill.
After its destruction the fortress stood empty until 1850 when the ruins were cleared and a restaurant and stable were added, This heralded the beginning of the Castle's tourist era which is its role today. Make the Altes Schloss a spot for a Sunday visit.

Schloss Favorite
One of the most well preserved Castles in the area is "Schloss Favorite". The castle is located between Baden-Baden and Rastatt, near the village of Kuppenheim. Favorite, the magic castle in the park, is rightly called the miniature "Sans Soucis" (Without Cares) and like the French Chateau it is built in the Barock style.
Built in 1710 for the Markgraefin Sybille Augusta, daughters of the Markgraf of Baden Baden, who was the immensely rich widow of "Tuerken-Louis" Her husband was the former Markgraf Ludwig Wilhelm, ruler of Rastatt, and the castle hears his nickname. He obtained his nickname for his campaigns against the lurks but they also brought about his death in one of the many battles.
The castle is an "untouched memorial of the 18th century", and all the interior furnishings remain as they were at that time. These consist of precious china, cut and polished glass, Chinese and Japanese art, paintings, figurines, bizarre wax ornaments, silk screens, Florentine leather, brocades, pearl embroidery and laquer paintings.
Near the castle is an octagon-shaped chapel called the "Magdalene-Kapelle". Here the Duchess spent the last years of her life in nun-like solitude.
A prince of Baden is presently in residence at the Schloss and guided tours are possible in the summer months.

Burg Windeck
On a hill above Buehl is the Castle ruins and restaurant "known as the Windeck. The castle ruins date back 900 years, the first castle being erected in the 11th century and called Wird-Eske ( Wing Corner). Its layout can be mentally reconstructed from the wall remains and the twin towers. The tallest (81 feet) -the Bergfried - was the defence building with its entrance 45 feet above the ground level. Windeck castle was never conquered in spite of countless sieges.
Under a special hereditary law Windeck castle could not pass to the eldest heir but was to be shared equally by all members of the family. The resultant housing problem forced the construction of the New Windeck above Lauf. Bitter family disputes led to the decline of the house after the death of Reinhard of Windeck in 1411.
In 1592 the last male scion was buried and in 1673 the line died out completely; the estates wore taken over by the Margrave of Baden, The old castle was left deserted for years and natures destructive forces succeeded where man had failed.
The 18th century a small gasthaus opened and was operated for 3 generations by the Graessel family. In 1945 the castle was requisitioned as an Officers Mess but the Graessels latter operated the gasthaus until 1957.
1959 saw modern minded business man acquire the castle and a modern restaurant was perfectly blended with the old castle. Many rooms bear names significant to former days. The "Forststube" (Forest Room) refers to the old Forest Inn. The 'Terrasse", a terrace like room with armour and swords is just above the "Kanzel" (pulpit) which provides a splendid view of the valley, Others are the "Ritterschenke" (Knights Inn), "Minneklause" (Old German Love corner) and the "Domdechantenkammer" (Cathedral Deans Chamber).
The Windeck ghosts consist of a procession of 5 figures seen by the walls at midnight. A man in black who is followed by 2 white ladies and their knights. Slowly they move to where the chapel formerly stood and at one o'clock they return and disappear into the vaults. The ladies are daughters of the last knight of Windeck who were cheated By his clerk-man in black, when he drew out the dying knights will. As punishment he must rise every night from his grave unable to find peace until Judgement Day.
See you at the Windeck

Schloss Eberstein
Occupying a commanding, position on a high cliff above the Murg River, the 13th century Schloss Eberstein provides a sonic view and good wine for visitors.
Build by the Counts of Eberstein the property came into the possession of the. house of Baden when the last member of the Eberstein family died in 1660 leaving heavy debts.
The castle became a favorite summer residence with the Knights Hall restored to its former splendour.
A romantic legend concerning the castle is recorded on the outside wall of the Trinkhalle in Baden Baden. Entitled the Grafensprung, it recalls the, death-defying leap by the Count Eberstein, on horseback down the steep cliffs towards the river to escape enemy soldiers.

Open to the public during the summer, Schloss Eberstein possesses a fine collection of mediaeval weapons and suits of Armor. Also, the stone crucifix in the court yard dating back to 1464 came originally from the Monastery in Herrenalb.
The tower provides in excellent view of the Black Forest hills and Murg valley while the terrace restaurant serves the locally produced Eberblut (Boar's Blood) made from grapes grown on the slopes below the castle.
In the vicinity are the dukes garden house, a small chapel and the entrance to an old silver mine.

Ybur Castle
High on a rocky crag above Varnhalt are the stately remains of Yburg Castle. Although no records indicate the castle's beginnings, it appears to date to Roman days because of the typical Roman feature of the towers main entrance being 40 feet above ground level.
In the, 13th century a strong fortress rose on the earlier ruins and was inhabitated by German knights. Their Swabian castle also vanished but the wells, draw-well, chapel and dwelling house, attest to its size and splendour.
The Castle was renovated in the middle ages; however, the last mention of the Yburg line is recorded at 1510. In 1525 the castle, was looted and burned during the peasants revolt. Although, some part of the castle may have survived, as in 1594 two men employed by the irresponsible Margrave of Baden produced forged silver coins at the castle. They wore later charged, convicted and sentenced to depth by quartering, for planning the murder of the Margrave of Baden-Durlach.
Rebuilt at the beginning of the 30 years war, the Castle was burned down for the last time in 1689 by order of King Louis XIV of France.
The trip is recommended for the daylight hours and the view of the Hills to the East and Valley to the West are marvellous. There. is also a restaurant at the castle to cater to your wishes.

Rastatt Castle
This Castle being such major part of Rastatt history is well covered in that section.
Further to the, earlier coverage the castle now serves as government offices and as a museum. It is well worth a visit and special attention should be paid to the beautiful chapel.

Take a little time and visit the castle which originated the emblem of Rastatt - The Golden Man.

Schloss Buchlerhoehe
The Kurhaus and Castle Buchlerboeche is a deluxe hotel with an International reputation. Surrounded by a magnificent park and well kept paths it is set in the Black Forest Hills overlooking the Rhine Valley. Together with the nearby Sanitarium it combines cures with every day comforts.
Built in memory of General Van Isenbert by his widow, the resort was originally for the benefit of German Army Officers. The famous architect Professor Kreis was the designer with construction commencing in 1912. When completed in 1914 the war had, interupted the planned handing over to Emperor Wilhelm II In 1920 a corporate company took over and opened the castle as a resort.
The ornate structure is built in the Barogue style and the imposing portals carry the inscription - "Vielen zur Genesung - Einem zum Gedachtnis (In memory of one - for the Recuperation of Many). You will find the Schloss Buchlerhoeche 15 miles above Baden in the Black Forest Hills.

Hohenzollern Castle
A very interesting days outing can be had by visiting the Castle Hohenzollern located at Hechingen south of Tubingen. Constructed in the 11th century it took a severe beating for the next 900 years and reconstruction began in 1461.
The name is derived from "Hohe" meaning "high" - and "Zollern" one of the most beautiful Swabian mountains. Original home of the Hohenzollern family which dates from 1160, the castles good condition is due to Prussian King Wilhelm IV, brother of the first German Emperor.
The ambition of the Hohenzollern family unified Germany and in 1871 the Hohenzollern on the Prussian throne was made Emperor of all Germany. The family maintained the throne until Germany's defeatin World War I and Germany became a Republic.
Diggings have shown that the present castle is the third one to have been erected on the same spot. The first two are believed to have been Roman and Celtic.
There are many interesting parts to the castle. In the reception hall there is a huge genealogical tree showing how the Hohenzollern family rose to power and wealth. In the Museum there are priceless curios, one of which is the crown of the King of Prussia Also, the chapel has a stained glass window dating from the 13th century.
This well preserved castle is truly worth a visit. It is one of the best preserved castles in Germany today.

Heidelburg Castle
On the slopes above Heidelberg is situated the most famous castle ruins in Germany. The red sandstone castle was begun in the 13th century by the local ruler.
During the following centuries the castle was often destroyed, rebuilt and enlarged. Since each addition was made in the style of the day, the castle is a museum of various styles of architecture. At the end of the 17th century the French partially destroyed the castle (gunpowder cracks still. appear in the base of the walls); however, it was rebuilt only to be destroyed by lightning in 1764. It was not until the 20th century that it was partly restored, as a monument.
A moat, high towers and great stone walls encompass an elegant courtyard. The east wall begun in 1556 and finished 3 years later, is said to be the most beautiful piece of Renaissance architecture, in Germany. It is named the Otto-Keinrichs-Bau after the builder. The north wall (1601-1607), has 16 statues of rulers of the Palatinate (early name for area around Heidelberg), The castle is the scene of vast Illuminations during the summer months (approximately 5 per year). A beautiful monument to the past.

 

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